HENRY Brookes is back in training as cricket starts to edge its way out of lockdown and the Warwickshire seamer is seriously eager to get back to work.
So eager in fact, the 20-year-old was an hour-and-a-half early reporting to Edgbaston for training last Monday.
Brookes is one of five Warwickshire players, along with Chris Woakes, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone and Sam Hain, in the first wave asked to resume training by the England camp ahead of the Test series against West Indies which starts on July 8.
So, Bears academy product Brookes was back at his cricketing home Edgbaston and loving it.
“It was great to get back to the ground,” he said. “I was so eager, I was an hour-and-a-half early! It was great to get some work in with our strength and conditioning Jack Murfin and I’m really looking forward to getting back working with Jack and our bowling coach [Graeme] ‘Pop’ Welch.
“I’ve got nine hours’ one-to-one with Pop in the next few weeks and that will be great. It means I can work on a few technical things with my bowling that otherwise I probably wouldn’t have had time to do.
“Lockdown has been tough for everyone, of course. For the players, it’s just been a case of doing all we can to keep our fitness up and stay as close to game-ready as possible. Some of the lads bought weights online and turned their homes into a gym and we’ve been running as much as we were allowed to just to stay as fit as possible.
“It has been frustrating because we had a really good few days with the Bears pre-season in La Manga Club. The bowlers were out there early and got some great work in, but then almost as soon as we got back came lockdown.”
Brookes’ inclusion in the 55 players asked to return to training first by the ECB underlines his presence in the thoughts of the England selectors after making his first Lions tour, to Australia, last winter.
“I loved it in Australia,” he said. “Now it’s great to be included in the first wave of players back in training so I’ve just got to keep working hard and try to keep improving to earn another chance with one of the England teams.”
Words by Brian Halford.